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6 Easy Recipes Even Your Little Cook Can Help Prepare
  • Go ahead. Let the kids help you in the kitchen: Put on aprons, use wooden and plastic kitchenware, then step back and guide them when needed. And the most important tip of all: Ignore the mess, but only until it’s time to wash the dishes. Remember that it's not meant to be perfect—it's meant to be fun!

    Fried Chicken Fingers with Creamy Gravy
    With a seasoning that’s light yet tasty, this dish is finger-lickin’ good!
    Takes 40 minutes, makes 6 servings

    1/2 kg. chicken breast fillets, sliced into strips
    1 c. milk
    1 Tbsp. vinegar
    1 large egg
    1/2 Tbsp. paprika
    1 tsp. ground black pepper, or to taste
    1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
    1 Tbsp. salt, or to taste
    1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
    1/2 c. cornstarch
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1 c. chicken stock
    1/2 c. cream
    Oil, for frying

    1. Toss chicken fillets with salt and ground pepper in a large bowl. Set aside. Mix milk and vinegar in a bowl until thickened. Beat in egg. Set aside.


    2. In a deep container, combine paprika, pepper, thyme, salt, flour, cornstarch, and baking powder. Taste mixture to check for seasoning, and adjust. Reserve 1 heaping Tbsp. Set aside.

    3. Make breading station: Arrange bowls of chicken, milk mixture, and flour mixture in a row. Dip chicken strips into milk then press into flour. Transfer to a tray; repeat with remaining chicken.

    4. Heat oil for deep frying in a sauté pan. Once hot, deep fry chicken strips until cooked through and golden brown. Drain on a rack over paper towels.

    5. Lower heat to low. Drain oil but not the browned bits. Stir in reserved flour. Whisk in chicken stock, and cook until thickened. Stir in cream, and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately with chicken fingers.

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    DIY Tortilla Pizzas
    Like pineapple? Love bacon? Let the kids choose the toppings of their personal pizza. They won’t be able to resist when it’s time to eat.
    Takes 15 minutes, makes 4 servings

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    Kid-helper tip: Place plastic bowls of the toppings around the tortillas then let the kids get creative!

    1/4 c. ground beef
    4 small tortillas, chilled until needed
    1 pack (200 grams) Filipino-style spaghetti sauce
    1 c. mozzarella, grated, kept cold
    1 c. quickmelt cheese, grated, kept cold
    2 slices bacon, cooked, chopped
    1/2 c. mushrooms, sliced
    1/2 c. pineapple tidbits, drained
    1/2 c. ham slices, cubed
    Oil, for frying
    Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

    1. Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add ground beef in an even layer. Let beef brown before breaking it up. Brown and cook beef thoroughly before seasoning with salt and ground black pepper to taste. Remove excess oil. Set aside until warm.

    2. Meanwhile, preheat oven toaster or oven to 350ËšF. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set aside.

    3. To make each pizza, place a tortilla on a cutting board. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of spaghetti sauce onto each tortilla. Spread mixture toward the edges. Lightly sprinkle with cheeses. Top with your choice of toppings. Lightly cover toppings with more cheese. Transfer to prepared baking sheet, slicing tortilla in half if needed.

    4. Bake pizzas until cheese is melted and tortilla crusts are just browned. Remove from oven, and let cool until easier to handle before slicing and serving.

    Chicken Pop-Pie-Overs
    Chicken à la king gets a simple makeover.
    Takes 50 minutes, makes 6 servings


    Kid-helper tip: Spoon your favorite filling into these puffy “cupcakes.”

    1 1/4 c. canola oil , divided, more for cooking
    1 c. milk
    3 large eggs
    3/4 c. all-purpose flour
    1/4 tsp. baking powder
    3 Tbsp. butter, melted
    1 c. orange camote, peeled, cubed small
    1 medium potato, peeled, cubed small
    1/2 c. frozen peas, thawed
    1/4 kg. chicken thigh fillets, cubed small
    1/2 c. sweet kernel corn, drained
    1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
    1 c. chicken broth
    1/2 c. condensed cream of mushroom soup
    Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

    1. Preheat oven to 400ËšF. Pour 1/8 c. oil into each cup in a 12-cup cupcake pan. Place on a drip tray. Heat in the oven.

    2. Meanwhile, make popover batter: In a large bowl, whisk milk, eggs, flour, baking powder, and melted butter until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. In a hot cupcake pan, fill cupcake molds 2/3 full (mixture should sizzle). Return pan with drip tray underneath to the oven. Bake until puffed and browned, about 30 minutes, turning pan around halfway through. Keep warm until ready to serve.

    3. Make filling: In a wok over medium heat, heat remaining oil. Cook camote, potato, and peas until tender. Add chicken. Cook until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in corn. Cook until heated through. Stir in flour, then chicken broth. Cook until thickened. Stir in soup. Season to taste.

    4. To serve, place 2 popovers on a plate. Spoon chicken into popovers, and repeat with remaining pieces. Serve immediately.

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    Grilled Ham and Cheese Dippers with Creamy Tomato Dip
    We’ve snuck in some good-for-you carrots to sweeten the homemade tomato sauce.
    Takes 20 minutes, makes 4 servings


    Kid-helper tip: Slice toast into fingers to make each one a great sauce dipper.

    1/2 c. butter, softened, divided
    1 small red onion, peeled, chopped
    1 clove garlic, peeled, chopped
    1 small carrot, peeled, roughly chopped
    1 pack (250 grams) Filipino-style tomato sauce
    1/2 c. fresh milk
    8 slices bread, crusts removed if desired
    8 slices sandwich cheese
    4 slices sweet ham
    Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

    1. In a small stockpot over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp. butter. Sweat onion until translucent, then add garlic and carrot. Cook until softened and aromatic. Add tomato sauce. Stir. Remove from heat.

    2. Pour mixture into a blender or mini food processor. Cover; puree until smooth. Return to the pot. Stir in milk. Bring to a boil then simmer until thickened. Set aside.

    3. Spread butter on both sides of the bread slices. Top 4 bread slices with 1 cheese slice each. Layer with ham then remaining cheese. Top with remaining bread slices.


    4. Heat a frying pan over medium-low heat. Grill sandwiches, pressing down with a spatula, until browned on both sides and cheese is warm enough to melt. Remove from heat, and using a bread knife, slice each sandwich into four. Serve with tomato dip.

    Mini Hotdog Meatballs & Spaghetti
    Brown ground beef and hotdogs instead of forming into balls, then stir into the sauce for a meatier spaghetti sauce.
    Takes 30 minutes, makes 4 servings

    Kid-helper tip: Divide meatball mixture into small portions then let the kids do the rolling.

    1/4 kg. ground pork
    2 hotdogs, finely chopped
    1/4 c. breadcrumbs
    1 large egg, beaten
    1 pack (200 grams) spaghetti
    1 small red onion, finely chopped
    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1 pack (250 grams) Filipino-style tomato sauce
    1 Tbsp. sugar, or to taste
    1 Tbsp. fresh milk
    Cheese, grated (optional)
    Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
    Oil, for frying

    1. In a large bowl, dump pork, hotdogs, breadcrumbs, egg, and salt and ground black pepper. Cook a small portion to test for seasoning, and adjust accordingly. Form into 1/2-inch balls. Set aside.


    2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain, and keep warm.

    3. Heat a deep sauté pan over medium heat with enough oil for pan frying. Pan fry meatballs, covered, in batches until each meatball has browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate, and set aside.

    4. In the same pan, drain any excess oil. Cook onion, then garlic until softened and translucent. Stir in tomato sauce, sugar, and milk. Bring to a boil, then simmer. Season to taste with sugar, salt, and ground pepper.

    5. To serve, toss spaghetti with sauce. Divide spaghetti among 4 plates. Top with mini meatballs. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired.

    Cinnamon French Toast Rolls
    Breakfast is a lot more fun when the kids are in on the prep!
    Takes 20 minutes, makes 4 servings

    Kid-helper tip: Fill rolls with jam, peanut butter, or even condensada. Yum!


    1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
    1/4 c. brown sugar
    1 large egg
    1 c. fresh milk, divided
    1/2 c. butter, softened, divided
    12 bread slices, crusts removed if desired
    1/2 c. cream cheese, softened
    1/4 c. sugar

    1. In a small bowl, combine ground cinnamon and sugar. Set aside. In another bowl, beat egg, 1/2 c. milk, and 1 Tbsp. of the cinnamon mixture.

    2. On a cutting board, flatten bread slightly with a rolling pin. Brush with softened butter then sprinkle with  cinnamon mixture. Roll into a log then set aside. Repeat with remaining bread.

    3. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Brush surface with butter. Dunk just enough rolls to fill the pan into the egg mixture, then quickly add to the pan. Fry until browned on all sides. Remove from pan, and keep warm.

    4. Meanwhile, whisk cream cheese and sugar in a saucepan. Stir in milk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, until sugar has melted and mixture is heated through. Drizzle over cinnamon rolls. Serve.

    Styling by Kay Isabedra-Silva of Craftsmith Living

    This story originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of Good Housekeeping Philippines magazine.
    * Minor edits have been made by the Smartparenting.com.ph editors.

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